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# Malloc question

Posted on 1998-11-23
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I have a 2 dimensional array: list[][]
I need to allocate a certain amount of space to it, determined by a third variable, space.

The size of the array is only determined at run-time.
How do I say allocate memory to make the array: list[space][13]
where the 13 is always constant.

I have tried defining the array as "char list[1][13]" at the start of the function and then calling realloc, but it doesn't work.

Any ideas?
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Question by:idek1
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Accepted Solution

imladris earned 100 total points
What you need is a pointer to an array of thirteen elements. The number of these elements that there are, is immaterial. That is analogous to have a pointer to an int. The number of ints there are is irrelevant. So declare:

char (*list)[13];

Then when you have space you can:

list=(char (*)[13])malloc(space, sizeof(char [13]));

proceed to use list as you would any 2d array.

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Expert Comment

Is there something that you need clarified before you grade the answer?

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Author Comment

Apologies for taking so long... my malloc (Borland C++ 3.1/Dos), only has one paramter, which is the size in bytes of whatthe required memory,  so i assume the lina changes to:
list=(char (*)[13])malloc(space);

Yes?
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Expert Comment

Almost. Sorry, I tend to use calloc. Anyway, given that list is supposed to wind up with max dimensions of space and 13 (i.e. list[space][13]) you would want to malloc as:

list=(char (*)[13])malloc(space*sizeof(char [13]));

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Author Comment

Just a further query... Now that I have declared a number of these 2d arrays, say list1, list2, list3, list4 and list5... I want to group them in an additional array so that I can access the 2d array using an index, e.g. in a for loop I want to be able to access ListArray[2] which would be an array holding all the 2d arrays, so ListArray[2] refers to list3, etc.

Thanks,
(P.S. I also need to access elements within the 2d arrays using the ListArray, i.e. I need access to say list4[3] using ListArray.

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LVL 16

Expert Comment

So you need a pointer to a pointer to an array of thirteen characters:

char (**ListArray)[13];

You would then malloc for the number of 2d arrays there are (say lists):

ListArray=(char (**)[13])malloc(lists*sizeof(char (*)[13]));

Then you would have to assign each one:

ListArray[0]=list1;
ListArray[1]=list2;
ListArray[2]=list3;
etc. etc.

Perhaps it would be easier to just have ListArray? And do the list mallocing in a loop (instead of assigning list1 etc. to ListArray).

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Author Comment

Thank you very much for your help.
I actually ended up using a structure which contained the list pointer and some other information, and I used an array of these structures to hold all the information.

Thank you.
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